Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

EVERYWHERE YOU GO!
Stores are decked to the nines, carols are softly playing and for me the mental list is ticking…

Top of my list is of course presents. And with a highly photogenic little boy I know that a cherished gift will of course be one with his handsome face on it. I am big fan of personalized gifts. I think it shows you care. There are some great gift ideas out there that one can personalize and places like Shutterfly are a mecca for these items. They have an array of goodies that will satisfy even that person on your list that has everything.

They have the cutest desk calendars I have ever seen. The design process is super user friendly and the quality is unmatched. I was so impressed with my purchase.
This summer one a dear friend of Reel Daddy got married and they had the cutest rehearsal dinner invitation . The event planner in me quickly turned over the invite to see who the designer was and I was shocked to discover it was Shutterfly. I had no idea that they were doing print material and was very impressed. They have some great designs this holiday season for the ever important Family Holiday Card.
I love canvas art. I mean LOVE.IT.  I love the clean lines and the look on wall. Plus I love looking at pictures that we took. It makes me happy. It makes it home to me. And you can not go wrong with shutterfly’s canvas prints. Yes, they are more pricey than some sites out there. But let me tell you the quality that I have seen is superior. Bite the bullet spend the money and trust me you will not be sorry.

I hope this helps your christmas shopping and if you want to check out my fav’s see below.
Christmas Cards
Desk Calendars
Canvas Wall Art

**disclaimer** Shutterfly is offering bloggers free holiday cards for promotional reviews. However, all these thoughts are my own & am great believer in their products. 

Manic Meal Planning

I have been doing it on and off for the last few months… Meal Planning that is. And when I do it successfully I am always so thankful. Yes, I stay at home and one would think I would have plenty of time to dream up meals on the fly.
But guess what? My child ate my brain.
It started off slow with bouts of preggo brain. “Oh I forgot to renew my car tags.” “Oh I forgot to clean the bathroom before company.” Minor things that were fixable, not a huge deal. However, it has progressed into full on motherhood dementia. Like I left the water running in the sink and left the house for 2 HOURS. You read that right, for 2 hours the water in my sink ran NONSTOP. Awesome.
And guess what my least favorite time of the day is around 430… its EJs cocktail hour. And normally results in him being fussy which makes Momma fussy. And the strong desire to throw my hands in the air and yell “I just don’t care.. Take-out it is” results.
Which completely counteracts my desire to be waistline and budget conscience. I started slowly with making lists on Sunday when the sales come out. Planning our meals accordingly and attempting to shop ONCE each week. No daily 20 dollar runs for dinner. I am by no means an expert but its been working. Yesterday I score $150 worth of groceries for 90 bucks by sale shopping and using coupons. And no I do not buy a bunch of junk. I am big on staying away from processed foods, the result of growing up in a Cardiologist’s family. I grew up believing that salt was the devil’s dust.
Because I am nice I thought I might start sharing some of my easy recipes that work great for meal planning aka if you so choose you can make ahead and heat up. But in return please share some of the goodness you make. Variety is key. I have a spreadsheet going of all my meals and it helps me lots.
Our dinners this week looks like this..

Sunday- Gumbo and Cheese toast
Monday- PW’s 16 minute Beef and Bean Burritos (I use ground turkey)
Tuesday- Ginger Chicken with Zucchini and Onions (a throw back to yummy goodness that is Benihana’s)
Wednesday- Kabobs (its predicted to be 80, seriously fall where are you?)
Thursday- Night out
Friday- Meat Ball sandwiches (turkey and homemade rolls)
Saturday- Deconstructed Chicken Pot pie

And that’s our week, you should also know I make the husband breakfast (breakfast sandwiches) and his lunch every day. His coworkers know when I fail to send breakfast because is mood is that bad and if left him to eat lunch on his own he either skips it or eats french fries. Which is a no go when trying to diet, which he is. So my family eats ALL its meals for around 120 a week. Pretty good, huh?

So if you want specific recipe let me know and I will post it. Do you meal plan? What are your tricks?

Halloween Photo Playdate

EJ and I are members of a wonderful playgroup here in Atlanta. One of my favorite aspects of the group is, of course, hosting my own play dates. Craig and I love to entertain and with my past life in the event industry I have to put my best foot forward. Not to mention I love doing it. 
It was supposed to be an afternoon in the back yard with all the kids decked out in their Halloween gear for a photo op and some playtime. As fate would have it Atlanta got hit with some horrid storms that day so I moved the play date inside. Space was a bit more limited, but we did the best with had to work with and I know EJ had a blast. 
We snacked on pumpkin muffins, fruit, and pumpkin dip with ginger snaps. The kids played with EJ’s ball pit and millions of toys and the moms were able to visit. 

Here we have a homemade cupcake tower. Yes that is cans of soup with scrap booking paper and cake plates with scrap booking border glued to it. Affordable and easy. I made the muffin toppers with the same paper and border. Easy, easy and very cute if I do say so myself. 

Homemade sign. An hour with some glue, paint and paper. A nice quiet nap activity. If you want instructions on how to make your own let me know. 

 Photo Op set with a black sheet tacked to the wall and some homemade poms. I moved our planters from outside and Voila cute photos. My kid wasn’t interested in posing so my pictures leave a bit to be desired but there were some cute ones of the other less squirmy kids.


Pumpkin Patch

The day begun with a slight chill in the air and seemed to be the first taste of fall. Ready to embrace this new season we made plans to head to the country and take EJ to a pumpkin patch. We dressed in anticipation of a cool day and lots of pictures. By the time we arrived at Southern Belle Farm the chill had faded to humidity but even in the heat we had a wonderful day. Craig put it perfectly when he said “That day was a great day” and a great day it was.